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20 April 2010 @ 10:32 pm
Rome Trip: 2-7th April 2010; Travel & Day One  

Rome Trip: 2-7th April 2010;
 

 

2nd April, 2010;

 We’re off to Rome-a-Rome-a-ah!


 

The day dawned... we'll I'd love to say bright and early here, but seeing as I was up a little after 3.30am it was a little less of the bright and alot of the early! XD


As most of you already know I was getting a 6.30am flight from Glasgow to Heathrow and planning to spend the next 10hours or so killing time until my girls indiefairy  and zeitheist  arrived and our flight left later that evening.


Thankfully, my darling friend Jayne heard about the fun day I had planned in the airport and emailed me, telling me not to be so ridiculous, that she lived about a half-hour out from the airport and that I must come on over to her place instead where we could hang out and watch the latest Supernatural together.


Well, I don’t have to tell you how fast I was on the next tube out of Heathrow with an offer like that! XD 


I got to hang out with Jayne for most of the morning/early afternoon, during which we chatted a bunch, I gushed over all the fandomy things dotted around her flat, and we got down to watching Supernatural episodes 5.15 and 5.16. I have to say that I am so glad I got to watch the latter with someone because OMG what an episode! We were both pretty much struck dumb by the whole thing, there were actually no words to express our complete disbelief in what had just happened. I’m sure it took us both at least five minutes before we finally stopped gaping at the tv screen, haha.


I have to say I had so much trouble keeping my mouth shut for the entire time I was in Rome with my girls, trying desperately not to spoil them for this episode. I just kind of grinned and squee’d and made hand-flappy gestures whenever something Supernatural related came up in discussion (and seeing as we’re all huge fans this kind of happened… a lot XD). We even named an entire building worth of statues after Supernatural characters… but more on that later! ;D


I left Jayne’s place between 1-2pm and made my way back into Heathrow where my girlies indiefairy  and zeitheist  were now waiting for me. We met up, shared hugs and squee, checked in and then headed for one of the BA lounges where indiefairy’s cousin had gotten us entrance into. This was exciting for all manner of reasons, but the main one, I really can’t lie, was the fact that there was free food on offer XD ah, the simple things in life! You could probably tell we were newbies at the whole thing, haha.


We killed a few hours in the lounge before heading towards our gate. By now I was starting to get really nervous but I think I managed not to give anything away! I think for all of us this was our first holiday not just away from our families for longer than a weekend, but out of the country too. I’m thankfully not the type of person who gets easily home sick and after my initial panic once the plane started taking off I was perfectly alright with the idea of being a million miles away from anything I even remotely knew :D well… until we arrived in Rome!


Our first experience of Roman hospitality is one I shall never forget, not least because it could only have happened to us! We’d arrived, got our bags, stood in the middle of the airport wondering just what the hell we did next before indiefairy  decided we were heading outside so she could have a fag first and then we could worry about the whole transport thing. We’d pretty much just stepped outside the airport, indiefairy  had lit up, when this old bugger came ambling up to us. He was pointing at indiefairy  and saying something in Italian which we obviously didn’t understand a word of. She figured he was after a cigarette and shook her head, telling him it was her last afterwhich I’m pretty sure he swore at us before spitting at us and ambling off into the airport! It was actually quite hilarious to be honest XD and a wonderful “Welcome To Rome” we felt too! Haha.


We jumped in a taxi soon after this and arrived at the Sheraton Roma Hotel a half-hour afterwards. The hotel at night looked glorious! Everything was lit up and there was some kind of party going on down in the main room and we were all very impressed with it. I’ve realised actually that it’s a Sheraton hotel I’ll be staying in when I go to Vancouver later this year and I was more than impressed by my stay in the Roma one that I’m very much looking forward to staying with them again! ...by the time we'd gotten to the hotel/checked in/settled down it was probably going past 10pm and I'm pretty sure we decided an early night was in order. Having been up since the crack of dawn, there were definitely no complaints from me!


And thus concludes our first night in Rome! Not particularly exciting in the grand scheme of the Rome experience but hey, this post had to start somewhere ;D

 

 

3rd April, 2010;

Day One, or, Caspe goes GaGa for the Colosseum!

 

 As you can see from the pictures, our first day in Rome dawned bright and glorious! And aside from one rainy day, the entirity of our holiday was spent like this with clear skies and sunshine- YAY!


my girls, indiefairy  & zeitheist ;
zeitheist  with her bug-eye specks (did we ever actually manage to get you out of these the entire time we were away? XD);
indiefairy  & zeitheist  & me, in one our many "myspace" photo attempts, before we decided Zei was much better at taking these kinds of pictures and so made her take all future shots, mu-haha;
indiefairy  says hiya!;


the Capitoline Hill;


looking up towards the Capotiline Hill, where the Capitoline Museum is, least to say we didn't actually do too many museums over the course of our stay in Rome. The ruins were far more fascinating!;
picture of the stairs we climed to reach the top of the hill;
random statue atop the hill, which indiefairy  found particularly fascinating (I wonder why!);
the most ancient symbol of Rome, the Bronze She-Wolf, showing the she-wolf as she protected and nutured Romulous and Remus (yes, I got very excited seeing this!);

 
The thing you don't realise about Rome, especially when looking at a map of the place, is just how close everything actually is. Take for instance the Capitoline Hill, which was one of the first places we spotted on our “let’s try this direction” walks. It looked kind of interesting so we thought we’d check it out. We took some pictures, made the appropriate “ooh” and “ahh” noises over the statues and architecture and stuff before turning a corner and finding ourselves with a breathtaking view of the Roman Forums. The sight of which got me all but a little giddy, I must admit.

We took a walk down the back of the Capitoline Hill and not only did we get an even better look of the Roman Forums, but we also spotted the Arch of Septimius Severus- a building I have just as inappropriate amounts of love for as the Colosseum ;D …the only difference between them being that I was unable to touch the arch in inappropriate ways to show my affection! Heh.

But yes, my point, everything in Rome is within walking distance. Providing you wear appropriate footwear, have a map, and don’t mind getting turned around a few times before you find where you want to be at! Heh. We did so much walking over the course of the holiday that come the end of it blisters and sore legs pretty much became the norm. That and we ended up knowing most of the main bits of Rome like the back of our hands! …I believe there was even one point when we got stopped by an Italian couple and asked for directions XD …directions which we actually managed to give as well! Haha.

But anyway, I digress. We ended up following the length of the Roman Forums until suddenly, and kind of unexpectedly on my part, I got my first tummy-squirming view of the Colosseum! :D ::makes happy noises::

 

the Palatine Hill & Roman Forum;



views from atop the Palatine Hill:
re, the Colosseum, I have ridiculous amounts of love for this building you don't even know.
oh hai thar picture five with your surprise Colosseum! I see you hiding in the back there! XD
why yes, you will be sick to death hearing about the Colosseum by the time I'm done. And to think this is only Day One! Muhaha; 

We headed towards the Colosseum, spotted the Arch of Constantine (which, yes was very exciting, just not as much as the Arch of Sev ;D). The queue for the Colosseum was huge, I’m pretty sure it was wrapped around the entire building by the time we got there. Thankfully we all had our trusty guide books with us and in having read them from front to back before arriving, haha, we knew that the best way to get into the Colosseum without having to queue up for crazy hours, was to head to the Palatine Hill first as the ticket you buy for entrance there gets you into the Colosseum too and vice versa.

So we made out way to the Palatine Hill first, queued for maybe a half-hour? And then spent the next however many hours walking around the hill and then the Roman Forums.

Guys, I just cannot express in mere words just how happy being around all these ruins made me! It’s been a dream of mine to visit Rome for the ancient history and ruins since I was a kid. I learned all about the ancient Romans, even studied them in my Latin and Classical Studies classes and asdfghjk it just felt so damn amazing to actually be there amongst it all I can’t even tell you!

Particularly, I was very excited about the prospect of seeing the Temple of Cybele on the Palatine Hill, but alas, though we managed to see into the Temple, the main part down to where the statue of Cybele was supposed to be appeared to be closed off. I was kind of gutted because of all the gods and goddesses the ancient Roman’s worshipped, I was more than a little fascinated by this cult and how they worshipped their goddess. Alas!  


what my sister, upon seeing my pictures, likes to call the "rocks and stuff" we saw in the Roman Forum;
Unlike her, however I get this wonderfully uplifted feeling just looking at them/remembering that I was actually there amongst it all and just, yeah. Happy Caspe is happy! X)

 

The Arch of Septimius Severus;


< insert inappropriate Snape/Caspe jokes here, please! >
I assume that no explanations need be given as to just why I was so excited about this building?
 
No, seriously. It really was for the shallow reasons you’re all thinking (so long as you’re thinking they relate to the sexiness of a certain Potions Master we all know and love!) ;D
 
They had the arch sectioned off so that the public, whilst still able to get pretty darn close, weren’t able to get close enough to touch. I guess they want to keep it as wonderfully preserved as it looks, so I can’t be too heartbroken by this fact! Heh.


I'm pretty sure one of my girls has a picture of me standing next to this Arch, trying not too look too much like a total creeper who gets off on perving over ancient Roman arcitecture XD heh.

 

The Colosseum;


It's my building, guys! ::hugs it like woah::
 

So. The Colosseum. Everytime I think about this building and having visited, I get this huge-ass grin on my face. I know I’m probably repeating myself in saying that I’ve dreamed of visiting the ancient ruins in Rome and in particular the Colosseum for years, but it’s a dream I never expected to happen. It still probably wouldn’t have happened had it not been for the announcement of a convention we never ended up attending anyway and two of the bestest friends a girl could ever hope to have!

I just cannot thank indiefairy  and zeitheist  for coming on this trip with me. The whole experience was made so much better knowing you two were these to geek it out with me! ::glomps you both so tight::

After we’d finished touring the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum, we made our way towards the Colosseum. As previously mentioned, the tickets we’d bought to gain entrance into the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum got us into the Colosseum. Though the crowd had died down a little from when we’d first spotted it, without our tickets I suspect we’d still have had to wait a few hours before we got in. As it was we got to walk right past the queue towards the front of the line and then straight into the Colosseum! It was a great feeling, heh.

I’ll spare you the history of the Colosseum, (at the very least you should all know the basics!) and instead tell you how awed I was by the sheer size of the place. I mean, I knew it was big, I knew just why it needed to be the size it was, but it wasn’t until we stepped out of the inner corridors and out into the open that it kind of hit me just how gargantuan the place was. Totally breathtaking!

I think everything I went past got touched and stroked and maybe even a little bit groped ;D but really, it’s not like I could help myself! It’s the mother f-ing Colosseum! Eeee!

 


views from inside the Colosseum;
 


views of the Palatine Hill taken from inside the Colosseum;
 
If I could have stayed inside there for the rest of the day I more than likely would have ;D as it is, after a couple hours we headed out and sat on a nearby wall looking towards the Colosseum where we ate sandwiched pizza and watched the locals get chased around in circles by the police! Heh.

It was just glorious. The whole first day experience, hanging out with my girls, getting to see and touch all these ancient ruins, I don’t think anything in the world is going to beat just how happy I was at that particular moment in time :)

And to think, this was only the first day!



Coming soon: Day Two, featuring The Rain, The Pantheon, The Trevi Fountain and The Spanish Steps, dun-dun-dunnnnn!

Also, I’d totally apologise for the spammage of pictures in this post/upcoming posts but well… considering I took over 500 photos, you’re lucky you’re getting the condensed version. Think of what my poor family had to put up with! ;D

 
edt.: Once again I proove that I suck at following most things through to an ending and have completely failed to finish up this report of my trip to Rome. I have however completed a personal album of my trip and loaded all the good pictures I took onto my scrapbook (which, if you're interested, can be viewed here). Unfortunatly, I will probably never get round to finishing my LJ post of the entire trip. That said, it was one of THE BEST weeks of my life, spent with two amazing people whom I love to bits and I'd do the entire thing again in a heartbeat :D ...if anyone has any questions about the trip/sites visited/etc feel free to ask, despite my lack of follow up posts, I could actually talk about this trip until I was blue in the face!
 
 
mood: cheerfulcheerful
 
 
 
Annadramaa_princess on April 20th, 2010 09:46 pm (UTC)
wow! sounds like you had a great time down there! nice! ^___^

and the pics look really amazing! ♥
Campaspe: HP \\ Severus; smileycs_whitewolf on April 23rd, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC)
I did, it was absolutely amazing! :D

thanks! I'm glad they turned out as well as they did, my camera is pretty rubbish tbh, hehe
Georgie: Jensen - guitar (ani)indiefairy on April 20th, 2010 10:04 pm (UTC)
Man I really need to do my Rome post, though I have my big bang and the fact that my Colosseum photo's are stuck on my camera until I can find new batteries, as an excuse.

It was an absolutely fantastic trip. One that I shall never forget, and I couldn't ask for two better people to spend it with.

I want to go back!!! ::glomps::
Campaspe: Mood \\ (rp) nose scrunchcs_whitewolf on April 23rd, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC)
haha I'ma let you off till after your spnj2bb entry is done! ;)

it was brilliant and I love you guys so much for coming with me coz it wouldn't have been nearly as awesome without you ::tackleglomp::

JUST THINK, IF WE'D BEEN A WEEK LATER WE'D STILL BE THERE WITH THE ASHCLOUD DRAMA :O
havocs_romanhavocs_roman on April 20th, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing your trip and your pictures--looks like you had a wonderful time, thats great! Looking forward to "Chapter 2"!

From a fellow Colosseum-lover, would you be at all open to, er, a few questions about visiting the place? No pressure at all (really).
Campaspe: Harry Potter \\ Moody; magical eyecs_whitewolf on April 23rd, 2010 06:03 pm (UTC)
Hey, thanks for checking it out! :D the next part of my trip should hopefully be up come this weekend.

And of course I'm open to questions! :) what would you like to know??
havocs_romanhavocs_roman on April 25th, 2010 11:49 pm (UTC)
*deep breath* I hear from various sources (whether they're right/wrong/outdated, I don't know...) that visiting the Sistine Chapel is a nightmare because it's so crowded you just have to keep moving and remember to look up at the ceiling every now and then. Does that - or some variation of that - also happen in the Colosseum? I love, love the Sistine Chapel, but I feel so strongly about the Colosseum (for reasons I can't even explain) that I'd like to be able to actually walk around for a bit. I'm not under any delusions that they'd unleash me in the place without a guide, but something other than straight-in-and-out would be nice... how was your experience? Was it horribly crowded and hurried? I mean, I know from your post there was a huge queue, but what happened once you were inside? :D

Outing myself as an unashamed Dumas lover here, do you have any idea if the Colosseum (or any other monuments of your choice) is at all, er, visitable at night? Not in a "steer me towards the nearest dark ruin so that I can wallow in it before I get mugged and potentially murdered", just in a "walk safely by/through" kind of way. Some of those amazing monuments must be publicly-accessible... no? I heart cities by night.

Also, I hear a lot about how Rome tends to rip off tourists at every given chance, but in your opinion, are the entrance tickets for the relevant stuff (Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Forums, and so on) terribly, horribly expensive? I mean, I suppose once you're in Rome there's no point in not visiting as many monuments as you can, so obviously the strategy would be "save up and be prepared", but generally speaking... will my bank account weep?

I'll definitely be visiting (well, if it's not closed off) the Arch of Septimius Severus if I ever get myself to Rome--yes, for the obvious reasons, why do you ask? I did, after all pose for a pic by the Rickmansworth "train" at the Transport Museum and can't stop going "whee!" every time I see the name on a map, which is almost daily, again for obvious reasons--nothing tops that level of silliness dedication, so might as well enjoy it. ;)

Ecstatic travel posts are so exciting to read! Looking forward to the next installment!
Campaspe: RP \\ Alan Rickmancs_whitewolf on April 27th, 2010 08:25 pm (UTC)
::grins:: So by “a few” questions you meant hundreds? ;D heh, just teasing! I don’t mind at all, infact I relish every minute I get to talk about the Colosseum!

In regards to it being crowded, I have to say I didn’t find it that way at all, even with what I was saying about the crowds queuing to get it. We ended up going after "lunchtime" so I wonder if maybe we missed the main rush to get in? That said, it was busy in the sense that the "viewing" platforms dotted around the Colosseum were always a bit of a push and a shove to get into. By "viewing platforms" I mean there are parts of wall on the first floor where (the walls have either crumbled away or been removed) they've added railings so that you can look down into the inner arena.

[Picture!] If you click on this picture, you can see kind of what I mean, where you see the groups of people are where the platforms are. You can see over the walls if you’re tall enough but the platforms are best for closer looks into the arena.

Away from the platforms you can pretty much walk at your own pace around the rest of the Colosseum. You don’t need to hire a guide either unless you particularly want to pay a ridiculous amount of money for a history lesson. So, yes, you can be “unleashed” on the place ;D and you can spend as long as you like inside it! So if you want to stay five minutes or five hours it’s all good! Exciting, huh? :D

I can only assume that the reason it didn’t feel as busy inside as it appeared it would be from the queues outside is because the Colosseum itself is HUGE. Like seriously GARGANTIAN! Which makes sense seeing as it was built to accommodate between 50.000 and 75.000 people! Thankfully there aren’t that many people trying to get in on a daily basis, haha.

(comment split in two parts because LJ apparently thinks I talk too much O_o...)
Campaspe: HP \\ Severus; smileycs_whitewolf on April 27th, 2010 08:28 pm (UTC)
(and comment part two! XD)

As far as I know you can’t go inside to see any of the monuments at night, you can view them all from a distance but they do all have opening hours they adhere to. For the Roman Forum and the Colosseum, you can get pretty close. There are railings along the entire main road leading to the Colosseum that lets you look down into the Roman Forum, but that’s as close as you can get to that. You can go right up to the Colosseum (and touch it!) but you can’t go inside after dark. I think everything closes one hour before sunset. I suspect the churches (The Pantheon/Vatican) have the same policy.

You can however visit the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain at night- and though we never did see them at night ourselves, from pictures I have seen they look gorgeous at night, perhaps even more so than during the day when there are loads of tourist about!

Rome is generally a “safe” place, at least in the sense that I never felt at all threatened or intimidated whilst there, but again we were only out till about 8/9pm at the latest. Everything is well lit though and I know there were bus loads of tourists still heading into the town on the last bus from the hotel. The only thing I’d say to watch out for would be the pickpockets, we only had one incident where Georgie felt someone tug at her bracelet as they walked past us but so long as you’re as paranoid there as are you are at home about these things you should be fine! And you know I think your typical night time rules apply (aka, go out with friends, etc) as they do for any city you visit day or night.

I didn’t feel that we got ripped off at any point during our stay, infact pretty much all the places we visited were free or offered discounts for European tourists under 25years (so long as you could show your passport as evidence). I can’t remember how much it cost us to get into the Palatine Hill/Roman Forum & Colosseum but I’m pretty sure it was somewhere around 10euros total. The trip itself cost us around £300 pounds and we each took around 250euros to spend which was maybe a bit tight but seeing as we didn’t do any kind of proper shopping (just market stalls and touristy things) but it was enough for us. If you're into the idea of shopping/etc then defo take more.

The Arch is permanently closed off I believe? (if it's not a return trip is definitely in order, haha) But you can get close enough for pictures/to see the details, you just can’t touch it D: lol. Eee! I’m glad you’re as geeky as me when it comes to the Rickman! Heh. Ah man, the things us fangirls get excited over! XD I've never visited a transport museum in my life, but well, I think I may have to reevaluate my stance on going now!

I’m a bit (read, seriously) late with my next instalment, but I’m getting there, honest! Haha. I hope this answers your questions? Feel free to ask more! I could talk about my Rome trip for eons!
Lokiloki_dip on April 21st, 2010 07:57 am (UTC)
Looks like you had such an amazing time!!
Campaspe: Leverage \\ Parker; up to no goodcs_whitewolf on April 23rd, 2010 06:04 pm (UTC)
I did! The first day in itself was just mindblowingly awesome :D
Joulez217: SPN-Castieljoulez217 on April 21st, 2010 08:31 am (UTC)
Wow the pictures are amazing! It looks lovely there it really does and am so glad you all had a fantastic time there! XD
Campaspe: RP \\ J2 \\ autograph my heartcs_whitewolf on April 23rd, 2010 06:05 pm (UTC)
thanks, hun! :D it was so good, heh.
(Deleted comment)
Campaspe: RP \\ Misha; grincs_whitewolf on April 23rd, 2010 06:06 pm (UTC)
::giggles::

I was hoping to see Misha Collins running around in a toga myself! ;D haha
Zeit: tv | actors | misha: :D?zeitheist on April 21st, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
did we ever actually manage to get you out of these the entire time we were away?

WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY :O

Looking at these pictures makes me all nostalgic. BEST WEEKEND EVER. Also, your photos of the Colosseum are incredible.
Campaspe: Mood \\ (tw) ftwcs_whitewolf on April 23rd, 2010 06:07 pm (UTC)
UUUUUMMMMM..... NOTHING?!

XD XD XD

omg I want to go back so much! just think... if we'd been like a week later in going we'd probably still be there with all that ashcloud drama ;D heh